Quotes of Note

“Many human beings say that they enjoy the winter, but what they really enjoy is feeling proof against it. For them there is no winter food problem. They have fires and warm clothes. The winter cannot hurt them and therefore increases their sense of cleverness and security.” – Richard Adams, Watership Down

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Henry David Thoreau

“There are many lessons in my fantastic journey. As I approach my eighth decade, with more fans and adulation than I could ever deserve, I can say with certainty that to be interesting you have to be interested. You can watch the parade that is life—and live vicariously through others, as many do—or you can get in and participate in your own journey. And the best time to go for broke is when you’re already there.” – Jonathan Goldsmith (a.k.a. The Most Interesting Man in the World)

“Dystopia used to be a fiction of resistance; it’s become a fiction of submission, the fiction of an untrusting, lonely, and sullen twenty-first century, the fiction of fake news and infowars, the fiction of helplessness and hopelessness. It cannot imagine a better future, and it doesn’t ask anyone to bother to make one. It nurses grievances and indulges resentments; it doesn’t call for courage; it finds that cowardice suffices. Its only admonition is: Despair more. It appeals to both the left and the right, because, in the end, it requires so little by way of literary, political, or moral imagination, asking only that you enjoy the company of people whose fear of the future aligns comfortably with your own.” – Jill Lepore, “A Golden Age of Dystopian Fiction” in The New Yorker magazine

“When a book leaves your hands, it belongs to God. He may use it to save a few souls or to try a few others, but I think that for the writer to worry is to take over God’s business.” – Flannery O’Connor

“The course of life is fixed, and nature admits of its being run but in one way, and only once; and to each part of our life there is something specially seasonable; so that the feebleness of children, as well as the high spirit of youth, the soberness of maturer years, and the ripe wisdom of old age—all have a certain natural advantage which should be secured in its proper season.” – Cicero, “On Old Age”

“My dear Laelius and Scipio, we must stand up against old age and make up for its drawbacks by taking pains. We must fight it as we should an illness. We must look after our health, use moderate exercise, take just enough food and drink to recruit, but not to overload our strength. Nor is it the body alone that must be supported, but the intellect and soul much more. For they are like lamps: unless you feed them with oil, they too go out from old age. . . the intellect becomes nimbler by exercising itself.” – Cicero, “On Old Age” (This prescription for good health is as true today as it was when Cicero wrote it over two thousand years ago.)

“They [authors] may use all kinds of facts to support their tissue of lies.  They may describe the Marshalsea Prison, which was a real place, or the Battle of Borodino, which really was fought, or the process of cloning, which really takes place in laboratories, or the deterioration of a personality, which is described in real textbooks of psychology, and so on.  This weight of verifiable place-event-phenomenon-behavior makes the reader forget that he is reading a pure invention, a history that never took place anywhere but in that unlocalizable region, the author’s mind.  In fact, while we read a novel, we are insane—bonkers. We believe in  the existence of people who aren’t there, we hear their voices, we watch the Battle of Borodino with them, we may even become Napoleon.  Sanity returns (in most cases) when the book is closed.

“Is it any wonder that no truly respectable society has ever trusted its artists?” – Ursula K. Le Guin, “Introduction” to The Left Hand of Darkness

“To my creditors, who remain an eternal source of inspiration.” – Book Dedication by Author Michael Moorcock

“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.” – Dorothy Parker

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